The last Pac-10 team to play a home game this season is Oregon State, which had
the scheduling oddity of a bye the week following an opening loss away from
Welcome to Reser Stadium, Beavers. Time to resume the season as Louisville visits on Saturday.
"It feels like a long time since we've played a game," OSU coach Mike Riley said.
And even longer since they've played a home game, since the 2009 season ended with two road games and then a bowl game.
As pleased as the Beavers are about being back home, their fans have responded in kind. OSU is expecting a crowd in excess of 45,000, which would threaten the Reser Stadium record of 45,059 that attended a 2008 game against Hawaii.
"It's fun to be home, and to be playing one of the biggest nonconference opponents to come in here," Riley said.
- Oregon State has won eight consecutive home openers — the Beavers' last loss in
an opener was 38-7 to UCLA in 2001. That streak of wins, however, includes four
victories over teams from the Big Sky and another over a lower-division team,
more the norm for a home opener than a Big East opponent such as Louisville.
- Maybe because the opponent is from another major conference, perhaps because
it's the third weekend of the season before OSU plays its home opener, but the
expected crowd of 45,000 could threaten the record for attendance at Reser
Stadium for a nonleague game.
The previous high is 45,059 for the Beavers game against Hawaii on Sept. 13, 2008, which maybe not coincidentally was also on the third weekend of the season.
SERIES HISTORY: Louisville leads 1-0 (last meeting, 2005, Louisville 63-27).
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Quizz Rodgers has gone three consecutive games dating back to last season without surpassing 100 yards rushing, and the Beavers have lost all three games. Coincidence? Hardly. OSU has won 19 of its past 21 games when a player rushes for more than 100 yards. Louisville's defense presents an inviting target, having allowed an average of 161rushing yards to its first two opponents.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The challenge for the Beavers will be up front. Louisville running back Bilal Powell is averaging 122.5 yards per game and 7.7 yards per rush. That's not a good sign for the Beavers, who were pounded for 278 rushing yards by TCU in the opening defeat. "We were stretched to the limit," OSU coach Mike Riley said of defending the Horned Frogs. "I still think our front seven can be very good."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's a whole new era but coaches don't forget. Most of our coaching staff was part of that debacle, so we don't forget." — OSU coach Mike Riley, on losing 63-27 to Louisville in 2005.
|STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL|
THIS WEEK'S GAME: Louisville at Oregon State, Sept. 18 — The Cardinals (1-1)
leave home for the first time this season while the Beavers (0-1) play at home
for the first time. Louisville doesn't often travel this far, having played
Pac-10 teams only four previous times, with three of those against Arizona State. The Cardinals haven't won a road game against a nonleague opponent since
KEYS TO THE GAME: It's most of the usual for the Beavers, such as winning the turnover battle. That won't be easy against an opponent with a senior quarterback while the Beavers put out a first-year starter in sophomore Ryan Katz.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
- RB Quizz Rodgers — After being held to 75 yards with only 18 rushes in the
opener, the junior running back figures to be ready for a breakout performance
in the home opener. He rushed for 189, 112 and 159 yards in OSU's final three
home games last season, and some of his biggest games have come at Reser
- DT Stephen Paea — Facing constant double-team blocking schemes against TCU, and
an offense that often went wide with its runs, the all-American tackle wasn't a
major impact in the game. That should change with Louisville's reliance on a
power running game, which means Paea will be right in the middle of the attack.
- WR Jordan Bishop — Louisville will attempt to focus its pass defense on James Rodgers, and the safeties will pay heavy attention to helping out on the run game. So who does that leave to cover slotback Jordan Bishop? He only had one reception in the opener, but it went for 34 yards and a touchdown. He should be a bigger part of the passing game this week.
- Tight end/H-back Joe Halahuni is still hampered by a sore left shoulder, but
OSU coach Mike Riley was listing him as "probable" to play against the
Cardinals. It still is likely to be game where the Beavers limit his role, to
protect the shoulder and save him for later games.
- No changes in the starting lineups were listed, so that means Wilder McAndrews
will continue to play ahead of returning starter Michael Philipp at left tackle.
Philipp worked with the first unit at times during the bye week, but OSU coach
Mike Riley described him as "still rusty" after missing spring drills and most
of the preseason practices with injuries.
- The middle linebacker position remains a three-headed rotation of Rueben Robinson, Tony Wilson or Feti Unga. Robinson got the start in the opener and had two tackles while Wilson finished with seven. Whichever one is in the game is likely to be tested by Louisville's power running game.